Public testimony in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s alleged extortion of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky continued on Tuesday afternoon, with former National Security Council staffer Tim Morrison and former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker testifying before the House Intelligence Committee.
The testimony of the two men was not as damaging to Trump as Friday’s appearance by Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Tuesday morning hadn’t been especially good for Trump, either, with Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman asserting that it was “improper for the president to demand an investigation into a political opponent.” In an unusual move, the White House used its Twitter account to impugn Vindman’s personal reputation. Hours later, that same account was sharing highlights from Volker and Morrison.
Republicans on the committee appeared generally pleased with the day’s testimony. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio — known for his slashing cross-examinations — praised the witnesses, accusing Democrats of driving them out of government service.
Democrats have charged that Trump ordered military aid from Ukraine withheld throughout the summer of 2019 in an effort to coerce Zelensky into announcing an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The younger Biden sat on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company accused of corruption. Trump also wanted an investigation into Ukrainian interference into the 2016 U.S. election. No such interference is known to have occurred.
Though they had been called by the impeachment panel’s Republican minority, Volker and Morrison by and large confirmed the Democratic narrative. That they did so without personally implicating Trump could be seen as a victory of sorts for the White House.
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